John Saxon

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For other people named John Saxon, see John Saxon (disambiguation).
John Saxon
John Saxon 1975.jpg
Saxon in 1975
Born Carmine Orrico
(1935-08-05) August 5, 1935 (age 81)
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Film, television actor
Years active 1954–present
Spouse(s) Mary Ann Saxon (1967-1979) (divorced) (1 child)
Elizabeth Saxon (1987-1992) (divorced)
Gloria Martel (2008-present)[1]
Children Antonio Saxon

John Saxon (born Carmine Orrico; August 5, 1935) is an American actor and martial artist who has worked on more than 200 projects during a span of 60 years. Saxon is known for his work in westerns and horror films as well as for his role as Roper in the 1973 film Enter the Dragon, in which he starred alongside Bruce Lee and Jim Kelly. He is well known for playing Lt. Donald Thompson in the 1984 slasher horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Early life[edit]

Saxon, an Italian American,[2] was born Carmine Orrico in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Anna (née Protettore) and Antonio Orrico,[3] a dock worker. He attended New Utrecht High School, graduating in 1953. He then studied acting with famous acting coach Stella Adler. He started making films in the mid-1950s, playing teenage roles. According to Robert Hofler's 2005 biography The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson,[4] agent Willson saw Saxon's picture on the cover of a detective magazine and immediately contacted the boy's family in Brooklyn. With parents' permission, the 17-year-old Orrico signed with Willson,[5] and he was renamed John Saxon.


After his first significant role as a juvenile delinquent in Running Wild (1955), Saxon supported Esther Williams and George Nader in The Unguarded Moment (Universal, 1956).

Saxon at the 2014 Fan Expo Canada

In his early career, Saxon worked with many notable directors, including Vincente Minnelli, Blake Edwards, John Huston, Frank Borzage, and Otto Preminger. In 1963 Saxon co-starred with Letícia Román in Mario Bava's Italian giallo film The Girl Who Knew Too Much. In 1966 he starred in Curtis Harrington's Sci-Fi/Horror classic Queen of Blood with Basil Rathbone and Dennis Hopper. He portrayed Marco Polo in episode 26 of The Time Tunnel ("Attack of the Barbarians"), originally airing March 10, 1967, and was a guest star on Bonanza in 1967 ("The Conquistadores") and in 1969 ("My Friend, My Enemy"). He went on to appear primarily in supporting roles in feature films, and won a Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor nomination for his portrayal of a Mexican bandit in the 1966 film The Appaloosa. He again played a Mexican, this time a revolutionary named Luis Chama in 1972 in Joe Kidd. He appeared in 1973's Enter the Dragon Bruce Lee's first starring role in a Hollywood feature. In 1974 he appeared as the police chief Fuller in the Canadian production of Black Christmas; from 1974–76, he appeared in The Six Million Dollar Man, first as Major Frederick Sloan and then as Nedlick. This role also extended into The Bionic Woman. The actor's likeness was later used for the Kenner action-figure doll called 'Maskatron' which was based on the series. Saxon played Hunt Sears, head of a breakfast cereal conglomerate, opposite Robert Redford and Jane Fonda in the 1979, Oscar-nominated film The Electric Horseman. He appeared in the 1982 TV movie Rooster, and appeared in the last week of the game show Whew! His extensive television credits include three years as Dr. Theodore Stuart on the series The Bold Ones: The New Doctors (1969-1972) and two years as Tony Cumson on Falcon Crest (1982, 1986-1988) as well as the recurring role of Rashid Ahmed on Dynasty (1982-1984). He appeared twice, in different roles, in The A-Team in 1983 and 1985. He played the role of Captain Radl in the two-part Wonder Woman episode "The Feminum Mystique" in 1976.

Saxon has appeared in many Italian films, mainly in spaghetti western and police thriller genres. Titles from these genres include One Dollar Too Many (1968) and Napoli violenta (1976). He also was the second incarnation of Dylan Hunt from the Gene Roddenberry shows called Planet Earth and Strange New World. More recently, Saxon was a supporting player in horror films, such as Bob Clark's Black Christmas (1974) as the relatively smart leader of a bunch of dumb cops; in Dario Argento's Tenebrae (1982) as the writer hero's shifty agent; in Mitchell (1975) as the murderous union lawyer and prostitute provider Walter Deaney; in Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) as Sador; in Cannibal Apocalypse (1980) where he played a Vietnam veteran tormented because his worthless pal bit him and years later, he is starting to get the urge to do the same; in Prisoners of the Lost Universe as an alternate-universe warlord, and in Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) as the heroine's (Nancy Thompson's) father. He reprised his role in A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987) and Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994) as he played himself in a dual role. He also made his directorial debut in 1987 with the horror film Zombie Death House, which starred Dennis Cole and Anthony Franciosa. He starred in Maximum Force (1992) as Captain Fuller and also appeared in From Dusk till Dawn (1995).

He also has starred in the Bollywood film Shalimar (1978) co-starring opposite Rex Harrison (whom he had appeared with 20 years earlier in The Reluctant Debutante. In recent years, he has been in a number of independent films and has appeared in several television series, including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and the Showtime series Masters of Horror.

He was a special guest on the Creation Entertainment - Weekend of Horrors 2010 on 21 May in L.A.[6]

Selected filmography[edit]

Selected television appearances[edit]

  • 1966: Gunsmoke Season 12, Episode 8 "The Whispering Tree" as Virgil Stanley
  • 1967: The Virginian Season 5, Episode 19 "The Modoc Kid" as Del Stetler
  • 1967: Bonanza Season 8, Episode 19: "Black Friday" as Steve Friday
  • 1967: Bonanza Season 9, Episode 3: "The Conquistadors" as Blas
  • 1971: Kung Fu Episode: "The King of the Mountain" as the bounty hunter
  • 1973: The Streets of San Francisco Episode: "A Collection of Eagles" as Vincent Hagopian
  • 1973: Police Story Episode: "Death on Credit"
  • 1974: The Mary Tyler Moore Show Season 5, Episode 8 "Menage-a-Phyllis" as Mike Tedesco
  • 1974: The Six Million Dollar Man Season 1 Episode 4 " Day of the Robot as Major Fred Sloan
  • 1975: Gunsmoke Season 20, Episode 14 "The Squaw" as Gristy Calhoun
  • 1976: Wonder Woman Season 1, Episode 5 "The Feminum Mystique Part 1" as Captain Radl
  • 1976: Wonder Woman Season 1, Episode 6 "The Feminum Mystique Part 2" as Captain Radl
  • 1976: The Rockford Files Season 2, Episode 16 "Portrait of Elizabeth" as Dave Delaroux
  • 1976: Once an Eagle (miniseries) as Captain Townshend
  • 1977: 79 Park Avenue (miniseries) as Harry Vito
  • 1977: Quincy, M.E. Season 2 Episode 11 "Sullied Be Thy Name" as Charles Desskasa
  • 1978: The Immigrants as Alan Brocker
  • 1979: Hawaii Five-O Season 11, Episode 16 "The Bark and the Bite" as Harry Clive
  • 1984: Dynasty (Rashid Ahmed, recurring character 1982-1984)
  • 1984: Murder, She Wrote Episode: "Hooray for Homicide" as Jerry Lydecker
  • 1988: Murder, She Wrote Episode: "A Very Good Year For Murder" as son Marco Gambini
  • 1994: Murder, She Wrote Episode: "Proof in the Pudding" as Uncle Bernardo Bonelli


  1. ^ Albert L. Ortega. "Hollywood Show 2014". Getty Images. 
  2. ^ Hopper, Hedda (September 1, 1957). "John Saxon's The Brooklyn Italian Type". The Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  3. ^ "John Saxon Biography (1935-)". Retrieved 2010-12-31. 
  4. ^ Hofler, Robert (2005). The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson. Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1607-X. 
  5. ^ King, Susan (October 21, 2012). "John Saxon, Hollywood cool guy, remembers his 'Dragon' days". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-01-23. 
  6. ^ "Creation Weekend of Horrors - Get Your Tickets Before They're All Gone!". DreadCentral. 

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